Iron Mountain after a snow and hail storm.
Iron Mountain located in the eastern Teanaway is yet another good destination to visit on the east side of the Cascades. The summit itself it not quite as popular to as some of the nearby summits in the region but the peak does have great views and is easily doable at all times of the season. The big reason why this mountain is not as popular is because the summit only as 280 feet of prominence. In order for the mountain to be put on the Backcourt List it must have 400 feet of prominence. At 10 miles and 2800 feet of elevation gain it is a long road-walk at grades of 8-10 degrees most of the way. To get to the true summit requires nothing more than 300 foot off trail Class 2 scramble.
View of Miller Peak from the summit.
Unfortunately when I got here I only saw some of the views from this summit due to an oncoming storm. But this summit does have great views of Miller Peak, Freedom Peak as well as toward Leavenworth and across the way to Mission Ridge, Cairn Hill and others in the region. I was also able to make out Wedge Mountain along with McClellan Peak in the Enchantments. I suspect this was only a taste of the good views from this summit.
Looking down the Iron Mountain ridge.
It should be noted that this road is a multiple use road. In summer and fall this road is used by ATV’s and bicycle. In winter this road is used by snowmobile. If you choose this mountain do not be surprised to see any of these kinds of traffic. In summer a good mountain bike would reason speed up your time on summiting this mountain. For the lazier type an ATV on this trail would probably make this summit a very quick trip.
The summit tree and rock
Getting ThereVIA SCOTTY CREEK ROAD:
You want to be 10 miles north of Blewett Pass on Route 97. Head west onto the Scotty Creek Road. Take this road 3/4 of a mile until seeing a bridge to your right. Make a right on this bridge (and ignore the "No Tresspassing signs" because this is a public road) on road 7322. Take the road a half mile to the trailhead on your right hand side.
This route is a basic road walk for the first nearly five miles to near the gap separating Iron Mountain from Miller Peak. It can be accessed by snowmobile, bike and ATV. From there it is a quick 300 foot off-trail Class 2 scramble to the true summit of Iron Mountain. The summit will have a single tree on top with rock covering the south face. 10 miles 2800 of elevation gain. If you which to knock off nearby Serpentine Hill which is commonly done with this one you are looking at 12 miles and 3400 feet o elevation gain.
Zephyrus heading near the summit
At this trailhead this is no marking noting that a parking pass is required. I found that a little shocking considering that they allow all types of parking. But for now no red tape.
When to Climb
This is mountain that can be summited at all times of the year. I would however have two warnings when approaching this mountain. The first is that in the dead of winter, the road leading to this trailhead maybe either closed or snow-covered. That will add 3 miles round trip to a hike to Iron Mountain. In summer this area can get very hot and dry and is prone to forest fires. Be aware of the fire danger and temperature when hiking here in summer.
Looking at the views
No mountain should ever be attempted in high avalanche conditions (category 4-5 according Northwest Avalanche Center). But this one during winter is a safer choice in lower avalanche danger than others in the region due to the fact that the slopes are somewhat tree covered and it is a mostly roadwalk to the summit. This area also receives less snow then other mountains in the Cascades.
Camping is permitted on this mountain. In fact there were a couple very good spots along the road with the best being just a quarter mile form the trailhead.
External LinksNovember Trip Report to Iron Mountain
Good Page written by Eric Willhite
Iron Mountain Peakbagger Page